Linda Palmer wonders What if...?
When I first started trying to get my writing published, I read every book on writing theory that I could find. I got something good from all of them, but I got the best from Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. When I read that book, suggested by another writer, everything sort of clicked. I got it. I really did.
Now I'm not saying to rush out and buy this book if you want to get published. Techniques is actually a college textbook and not an easy read, but it makes sense and, added to all the other tips I'd absorbed and the time I'd put in, made the difference. So much so that my very next book got published by Silhouette Books.
Many romances later, I still use methods I learned from Mr. Swain. My favorite is called "focused free association." This means writing down all thoughts on a particular topic, in my case the wisp of an idea I have for my next paranormal romance. I use pen and paper. (If this Virgo used a computer, the temptation to correct typos would be irresistible and distracting when the whole point is unfiltered flow.)
My May release The Flip started exactly this way. I had a pen; I had one of the composition notebooks scattered all over my house. My wisp of an idea came from a movie, Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightley version. If you've seen it, you must remember that moment when Matthew Macfadyen's Mr. Darcy sees Lizzie for the first time. It's a classic double-take. Mentally, he goes right to his knees.
With that yummy conquest in mind—strong guy, unwitting girl—I began writing down possible scenarios for a meeting as potent as that one. There's just so much I want to know. Who is he? Where is he? What's he like? What's his story? Who is she? Why is she where he is? What's she like? What's her story? Every question raises a new one. Every answer has a fraternal twin. I just keep what-iffing, going with the flow as my story grows in my head. Don't like that idea? Leave it. Love that one? Take it and run.
What fun, right?
And the result? In this case, The Flip, which begins with the double-take of a stressed homicide detective named Bastian. Who is the object of his unwilling attention? Jai, a young woman who has just "flipped" her life to get a brand new start. Is this a good time for romance? Of course not and for so many reasons…thanks to Mr. Swain.
Who among us hasn't wished, once or twice, to be someone else? Or at least to be living a different life? How much easier life would be if we could leave our troubles behind and start over.
But... (and isn't there always a "but...?") life just doesn't work that way, because what makes us unique individuals stays with us. Emily thought she'd successfully flipped her life when she moved to a new town, found a new apartment, job, roomie, and even a new hair color. What she can't change is herself—a psychic who hears others' thoughts. While volunteering to distribute sandwiches to street people, she finds herself in frequent company with Bastian, a gorgeous local cop who is investigating what looks like serial murders. Now, if she could only convince him that she's a big girl who can take care of herself.
Or so she believes, until she ends up in a deserted movie theater, alone with a killer whose deadly intentions she can read all too well—while wondering where that cop is when she really needs him. The Flip, Book 6 in the Psy Squad series, is available now at your favorite ebookseller (ISBN 978-1-60174-250-6; $3.99).
Ginny McBlain's heartwarming sequel to Solemn Vows is coming next month, with a new title and a new cover. A young woman who is rebuilding her life, a man who is trying to serve his congregation and be a good father to his motherless child, and a pair of teens who desperately need a warm, dry place to sleep all find a Safe Refuge at St. Peter's Church. Available for preorder now, and on sale on 14 June 2019.
We're taking July and August off, but will be back in September. In the meantime, don't forget that summer (and winter) are great times to catch up on your reading—ebooks of course.